As most regular visitors to the Nest know, Dragons have very little use for human politics. Oh, now and then, when concerns over habitat protection and civil rights are part of the mix, sure. In that respect, they’re like a lot of us: politics, in the end, being local and personal.
So, on this Guy Fawkes’ Day, let’s get personal.
Now, US public schools teach scant English history, so for many Americans Guy Fawkes is some noble figure appropriated by the wonderfully anti-totalitarian film, V for Vendetta, and, subsequently, by the activist group, Anonymous. Being a radical anti-fascist myself, this is an invigorating association. Sadly, it’s a leap of fancy rather than fact. (Anyone who likes a bit of classy Brit-drama with their history should check out the 2-part series, Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot on Netflix. Excellent acting and not too biased.)
But let me return to the personal politics of our time.
Despite what the media, with their desire for ratings and a horse race, would have us believe, the Republican and Democratic candidates are not flip sides of the same, terrible coin. In fact, the candidates, their intelligence, experience, temperaments, and platforms could not be more different.
The Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is a woman who, as lawyer, First Lady of Arkansas and then the country, senator, and Secretary of State, has spent her adult life in service to the people of this nation. She has fought for women and children, the poor and the middle class, the underprivileged and the working people of this country. She is smart to the point of being a policy wonk, and treats friends and foes alike with respect. She is prepared to be President, and, unlike her opponent, she understands that it is a job for which one needs to prepare, especially in an increasingly complex geopolitical world.
She understands how the government works and, when she was a part of it, got glowing reviews from both sides of the aisle. She understands and respects the Constitution. For 20 years, she was viewed as the most admired woman in American. Until she started running for President, of course. Suddenly, over-night, the media and right-wing opposition turned her into the devil in a blue pantsuit. Amazing.
She believes in science – I know, this shouldn’t be a thing in 2016, but sadly, it is. She knows that climate change is real and must be addressed for the sake of the planet. Her fiscal policies continue building on the progress we’ve made over the past 8 years, addressing economic inequities and investing in the country’s people and infrastructure. (Even though she has targeted Wall St., they are far more assured by the prospect of HRC as President than her opponent.)
She respects a woman’s right to choose, LGBTQ rights to marry, and understands that the problem between citizens and the police in this country will not be solved with more militarized “law and order” but with a judicial system based on equality and fairness regardless of race, creed, nationality, or sexual orientation. True, she is a little more hawkish than I would like, but she understands the way the world works and the need for supporting and working with our allies.
In the realm of politics, where hyperbole and exaggeration can easily run amok, she’s been found to be by far the most honest, truthful candidate of either party for the whole campaign season – including the primaries. (Facts, of course, tend to have a liberal bias, so this is not often reported by Republican mouthpieces like Fox News and the Drudge Report.)
She is not perfect – what candidate is? She has a reputation for being guarded, almost secretive, at times. Yet, after 30 years of being hounded and investigated by the opposition for every little sneeze – and found nothing – who among us would be different? At least, when she makes mistakes, she acknowledges them and learns from them.
Hillary Clinton is a candidate who can make long overdue history as the first woman President of this country. Her gifts may not include either the soaring oratory of President Obama, or the folksy charm of her husband. But almost everyone who has worked with her, regardless of party affiliation, sings her praises. She is a decent human being who cares about her fellow human beings. She will keep us safe and protect our rights – yes, even those 2nd Amendment rights some are so convinced they will lose. She will represent the United States to the world with intelligence, empathy, and grace.
On the other side, we have a man who is an ego-maniacal bully with a fourth-grade vocabulary and zero experience or interest in governing. Despite his boasts of great personal sacrifice, he’s not served his country in any way, shape, or form. This is a candidate whose grasp of the Constitution is thread-thin at best. He believes that, once he is President, he can unilaterally: overturn treaties – including the Paris agreement on climate change (because, hell, climate change is a liberal and Chinese hoax); fire all the generals and admirals (he knows more than they do, anyway); change the libel laws to strangle the First Amendment; deport millions of immigrants; instigate a religious/cultural test for citizenship; roll back LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, and civil rights; throw his political opponent in jail in the manner of a tin-pot, third-world dictator (who needs evidence or a trial, just lock her up); and bomb our enemies into oblivion. That he actually asked why we have nuclear weapons if we’re not going to use them displays a depth of ignorance that is staggering! And then he insists the whole election is rigged and he’ll have to consider accepting the orderly transition of power upon which our nation is founded should he lose. So much for the Constitution.
He is a man with such a pathological relationship with the truth that fact-checkers find over 70% of what he says is divorced from reality. Despite what he says there is no voter fraud, the unemployment rate is not 45%, our military is not a shambles, Mexico will not pay for his wall, and he does not know more about ISIL than the generals. He boasts of his business acumen as a reason to vote for him, yet he’s filed for bankruptcy 6 times. He says he’s charitable, yet his charity amounts to taking credit for giving away other people’s money, not having donated to his own foundation in over 8 years. He says he will be good for middle America, yet has stiffed American workers over and over again, while lining his own pockets with millions. He manufactures his products overseas and uses Chinese steel in his buildings, then blames HRC for not making him do the right thing when she was a senator (one of 100 – such tricky, inconvenient things, numbers, facts, and government). What his accountants were able to do with the tax code is positively obscene to say the very least – he says it’s smart which makes the rest of us who do our part, what? Schmucks? (And yes, it’s his accountants who understand the tax code, not the candidate. He just signed the forms.)
His narcissistic need for approval is such that he will embrace the praise of dictators, white supremacists, anti-Semites, racists, and xenophobes. Like a carnival barker, he hawks fear and scapegoating in a way that would not be out of place in the Weimar Republic.
He treats veterans, the disabled, minorities, and women with a deplorable lack of respect. He has boasted of being able to assault women, then dismissed his words as “locker-room talk.” And yes, make no mistake, kissing someone without their permission, grabbing them by the “pussy” – or anywhere else for that matter – is sexual assault. He then threatens anyone who speaks their truth with legal action. He wants to be the face of our nation to the world, yet is a man every parent should worry about leaving alone with their daughters.
His economic plans would send us tumbling back into recession (or worse), his health-care plan would make millions uninsured, and his foreign posturing – it can’t even be called policy – would alienate our allies and embolden our foes.
This is the Republican candidate. As George R.R. Martin, a man who knows something about Dragons and politics said, “You don’t need to like Hillary. You don’t need to listen to what Hillary says about Trump, or what I say about Trump. You just need to listen to Trump. If you can do that, and still consider voting for him… well…”
If you’ve made it this far you know it would be disingenuous of me to say I don’t care who you vote for. I would love to see the Democrats take the White House and the Senate and be able to really do something without blind opposition.
The FBI has already been caught trying to tip the scales, as has Russia and Wikileaks. This is not a time to toss your democratic right – your democratic responsibility into the dumpster.
THIS IS OUR FUTURE, OUR KIDS’ AND GRANDKIDS’ FUTURES.
It is not a time to wallow in a media narrative of false candidate equivalencies and lessers of two evils. They’re not. It is not a time to get complacent because the pollsters say it’s a virtual done-deal. It isn’t. It’s also, with all due respect, not a time for a protest vote. HRC may not be Bernie. But Bernie’s not on the ballot. And Clinton is a hell of a lot closer to him than either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, and much more fit to be president. Make no mistake: a protest vote is a vote for the Republican.
Tuesday – or before, if you are able – go to the polls. Think carefully about who you want to be the face of our nation for the next 4 years. Who you want comforting the nation when the next Hurricane Katrina hits or the next Ferguson or Newtown. Who will care about all Americans regardless of race, creed, sex, or sexual orientation. Regardless of how fat their wallets or fawning their praise. Hold to hope, not fear. Don’t be intimidated or deterred. Use your heads and hearts – swear a little if you want – and vote.
If we can all do that, I think – please Great Dragon! – we’ll be ok.